Paul writes to the church in Colossae and thanks God for what he has heard about them. He comments on their faith and then prays for them. This prayer is one of the most refreshing prayers in the New Testament (1:9-12):
. . . asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will . . . that you may be filled with the full . . . deep and clear . . . knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom . . . in comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God and in understanding and discernment of spiritual things . . . a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works . . . as you learn how more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work . . .
Every morning I send out a “Morning Message” to a couple hundred people (If you are interested in receiving these messages, send me a note). When I began sending these messages, I made a commitment to pray for each person who was on that list and this prayer Paul used is the primary verbiage I use in my prayers. You see, Paul’s prayer captures the purpose of the whole thing! He was praying that we could know what God is all about, what He wants from us, who He is . . . to know HIM—to know His will . . . that we could be filled—filled to overflowing with knowledge and understanding . . . that we could possess a deep and clear knowledge . . . and have comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of our God—a thorough understanding of the ways in which He works . . .
This is something every believer desires! However, this does not happen overnight. It is a growing process—the maturing process intended for us. No, He’s not hiding it from us!! He wants companionship; fellowship; intimacy . . . we are the ones holding Him back! We are the ones hindering Him from revealing Himself!
We also pray that your outward lives, which men see, may bring credit to your masters name. That you may walk—live and conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him and desiring to please him in all things . . . steadily growing and increasing in the knowledge of God—with a fuller, deeper and clearer insight, acquaintance, and recognition—that your knowledge of God may grow yet deeper . . .
This is the source of all power in the Christian life—Jesus Christ himself! I mean, you can have all of the correct doctrines and theology, but it means nothing if you do not know your Savior. It is simply jumbled up facts with no meaning.
When you truly know your Savior, your heart will break when you see suffering; your anger will rise when you see injustice. You will be moved to help those in need–however, you will not judge and condemn anyone who is criticizes and condemns you.
I believe the whole theme of this letter can be expressed by these words that are part of the apostle’s introductory prayer for the Colossian Christians:
May you be strengthened with all power, [that is why he wrote the letter] according to his glorious might [That is the subject of the letter to the Colossians.] Strengthened with all power . . . [what kind of strength?] . . . the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth, but the glory-strength God gives—invigorated and strengthened with all power . . . that you will have all the patience and endurance you need . . . It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy—that you may pass through any experience and endure it with joy . . .
You doubt that? Look at Paul’s attitude when he knew hardship was to come:
And now, you see, I am going to Jerusalem, bound by the [Holy] Spirit and obligated and compelled by the [convictions of my own] spirit, not knowing what will befall me there—Except that the Holy Spirit clearly and emphatically affirms to me in city after city that imprisonment and suffering await me (He knew “clearly and emphatically” what was coming, but): But none of these things move me; neither do I esteem my life dear to myself, if only I may finish my course with joy!!!! ~Acts 20:22
I am sure you know that kind of attitude doesn’t come naturally! No, it requires God’s Grace—God’s Ability! But that is the attitude Paul was praying for them to have—the ability to endure any hardship, disappointment, persecution, frustration, etc., to endure them with joy!
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list)
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